Many migrants in Belarus flew there. Airlines on Friday moved to end that practice.


The confrontation over migrants making an attempt to attain the European Union has a protracted and rising listing of gamers: Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Germany, the European Union, the United Nations, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

Belarus has granted visas to 1000’s of individuals, lots of them from Iraq and Syria, to fly to its capital, Minsk, after which escorted them to its borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, E.U. international locations that refuse to admit them. Visas in hand, migrants have been boarding flights in Istanbul, Moscow and elsewhere to attain Belarus.

On Friday a few of these routes had been closing after the European Union put stress on a few of the airways concerned. Turkish Civil Aviation and the Belarusian airline, Belavia, each introduced Friday morning that Iraqi, Syrian and Yemeni residents would now not be allowed to board flights to Belarus.

“Due to the problem of illegal border crossings between the European Union and Belarus, it has been decided that the citizens of Iraq, Syria and Yemen who want to travel to Belarus from Turkish airports will not be allowed to buy tickets and boarding until further notice,” the Turkish statement, released on Twitter, mentioned.

Belavia, which operates joint flights with Turkish Airlines from Istanbul, warned in a message on its website that passengers from Iraq, Syria and Yemen wouldn’t be allowed to board flights to Belarus from Turkey and supplied them a full refund.

Earlier in the week, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, mentioned the E.U. would “explore how to sanction, including through blacklisting, third country airlines that are active in human trafficking.”

It will not be clear how the E.U. would outline “human trafficking,” or how an airline is meant to distinguish between a vacationer and a migrant. Iraqis, who’ve made up the majority of the passengers touring from Istanbul, have traveled with visas for Belarus.

And not all the routes have been reduce off. Travel brokers working with individuals wanting to get to Belarus mentioned they had been working to discover options. On Friday night, there have been nonetheless flights to Minsk from Dubai on FlyDubai.

The Turkish authorities, which has been criticized in the previous for pushing refugees towards Europe to additional its personal political agenda, however has additionally struggled to host almost 4 million refugees, on this event sided with European and fellow NATO members.

But Ankara additionally took affront at any risk of European sanctions. On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry launched a vehement assertion in response to hypothesis that the Turkish airline might be penalized.

“We reject the efforts to portray Turkey as part of a problem that it is not party to. Moreover, we find it deliberate that Turkish Airlines, one of our globally respected companies, is being targeted, despite sharing information on the matter transparently,” the ministry mentioned.

The assertion made clear the place Turkish authorities sympathies lie, referring to individuals “illegally crossing into our allies Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.”

Many of the migrants boarding flights from Turkey have expressed no curiosity in staying in Belarus, an economically troubled, repressive nation that is below Western sanctions, and overtly advised reporters that they wished to attain the European Union, the place they hoped to discover asylum and work.

As a consequence, lots of them are camped on the border in unsafe situations — a humanitarian disaster that the West accuses the Belarusian chief, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, of making deliberately to stress the E.U. to elevate sanctions.





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